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Are Empty Nests a Thing of the Past?

As an increasing number of young adults remain in their parents’ homes, it makes you wonder if the face of the typical Canadian household may be permanently changed.

Whether you’re a younger parent or well-seasoned, when the children leave for school or go off on their own, it changes the dynamic of the family home. For some homeowners this offers the opportunity to make changes and take on renovations they’d considered as the children were growing up, such as: decorating in a less child-friendly colour scheme, expanding the garden, or turning a bedroom into a hobby space.

However, the dream of empty nesting has been placed on hold for a growing percentage of Canadian homeowners. This is due to the percentage of young adults remaining with their parents for longer than in previous generations. In fact, there has been a 20.3% decrease in emptying nests over the 15-year period between 2001 and 2016.

According to a 2016 Statistics Canada census, this trend is most prevalent throughout Ontario. In Toronto, 47.4% of adults aged 20 – 34 lived with at least one parent, followed by Oshawa with 47.2%, and Hamilton with 44.5%.

While the high percentage of adult children remaining at home in Ontario can certainly be connected to the GTA’s higher cost of housing, it is also worth noting that a higher immigrant population also plays a role. In many cultures around the world, multigenerational households are a norm. This means that young adults who have moved to Canada with their parents may be more likely to remain at home longer.

The Positive Side of Multigenerational Living

There are a number of positive factors can come with having multiple generations under the same roof, which is why this type of lifestyle is so common in many cultures. Those benefits can include: economic empowerment, childcare solutions, senior care solutions, companionship, and stronger relationships between grandparents and grandchildren (when young children are present in the home.

Renovating to Make it Work

The challenges that comes with having adult children in the home are unlike those experienced when they were still growing up. New life stages for both children and parents mean that there is now a heightened need for boundaries, privacy, and independence. To this end, if it seems like that kids will be sticking around for a while, it makes sense to take on a few renovation projects to help make the situation more comfortable.


Some of the Best Home Renovation Projects to Consider Include:

  • Adding a basement apartment
  • Soundproofing
  • Creating an in-law suite
  • Converting a disused bedroom into a secondary sitting/living space
  • Using a back or side door as a second entrance (with a dedicated doorbell)


Even the best of parent/child relationships can feel a bit strained as the children begin living as adults while still under their parents’ roof. The abovementioned renovation projects can help prevent some of the common pain points.


For more home improvement information and inspiration, explore the articles and listings on

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